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Your Friendly Hack Is Open For Business!

Discussion in 'The Hack Mechanic Goes Online' started by hackmechanic, Aug 5, 2014.

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    hackmechanic

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    Hey, folks. I'm Rob Siegel, your friendly neighborhood Hack Mechanic. In addition to my new weekly pieces in Roundel Weekly, in this space I'll be answering your questions and posting DIY suggestions, occasional projects, and whimsical notions, along with—yes—occasional hack repairs. Now, as the monocled meanie said to Karen Allen in Raiders of the Lost Ark, "What shall we talk about?"
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Hi, Rob! Glad to have you aboard, and firmly imbedded in the asylum!
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    BMWtyro

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    Great first online column, Rob

    Yes, I've had many of those moments that I didn't know what I was looking at --- and sometimes I still remained unaware until somebody "patiently" told me.

    Many a horror tale begins with these words: "We once owned a Corvair . . . " And many years ago we did indeed own a '63 Monza convertible, a car which could barely muster enough power to pull our steep driveway. The doggone thing just wouldn't stop blowing head gaskets, either . . .

    I complained about all of this to a fellow Corvair owner as he sat on the garage floor pounding away at a cylinder head, trying to separate it from the three jugs to which it seemed to be welded. "Ha-ha", laughed I, "the cylinder jugs usually fall right out of my heads when I remove them."

    "Idiot," responded he as he looked up at me, "there's your problem: that means your car has the wrong cylinder heads!" And indeed it did.

    Yes, I did (and still do) feel pretty stupid about that whole scenario . . .

    Jeff
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    hackmechanic

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    We've all had these experiences. And the older these cars get, the more chance they have for, uh, challenging experiences in their lifetimes.
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    MGarrison

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    Welcome Rob, great to see you here! Great seeing you @ the Monterey O'Fest too!
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    kwc5776 E30 fan

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    Welcome, Rob. Love the online idea. Really looking forward to hear of your experiences more than monthly!
    And you get credit for my first post here...
    Ken
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    billclay

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    +1 to Ken's comment - looking forward to more columns and your presence on the forum here. I'm reviving a '72 Bavaria so I will no doubt come calling with questions!
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    scottstradley

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    Oh no Rob. Now you're going to live the 24/7 electronic life. Whatever life you had, and with your rapid email responses it isn't much, will now slide into divorce, no sleep, and your kids abandoning you! Remember to periodically forget your password and relax.
    But as I, and probably all of us say; deepest thanks for what you do. And I enjoy each of your letters/responses in Hack Mechanic each month. And when I read some stupid thing a person has done and is asking how to correct it, I look in the mirror and say hmmmm, sounds like the time I ran out of gas and replaced the dead battery (from cranking it), worked on the carb's, and replaced the points/condenser until my father said- you got any damn gas in this car.
    Learned a valuable lesson that day. Start with simple fix, and don't make my father drive 45 miles for my stupidity. Each way.
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    hackmechanic

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    Thanks folks. I view my role as enabling stupidity while reducing shame.
    wjbruckner likes this.
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    mrsbee

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    "friendly" couldn't have described you better!

    We've got to work on getting you an avatar, though. I have lots of pictures of myself that I can photoshop in a beard if you'd like!
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    mrsbee

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    hackmechanic

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    I'm not a mustache guy. They make it look like my neck is trying to swallow my face.
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    pmr49

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    Hey Rob, after reading your book I feel like I know you. We are kindred spirits in that I didn't actually buy your book, I got it from the library. In fact, they didn't have it and I requested they get it, and they did.

    I do also enjoy your Roundel columns, I appreciate your high risk tolerance and stick-to-itness. It's nice when it pays off, and the bad decisions might be easily forgotten (unless your wife knows about them).

    Speaking of high risk tolerance, I would like your opinion about something. My wife and I picked up a distressed property in Sonoma County. The previous owner had a grow room, raised fighting dogs, and had an unlicensed auto repair business on site. None of his work was done with benefit of permit or license, in fact. So far we've removed 140 yards of rubbish from the property and we're not quite done. But it is a beautiful place we great bones.

    Some of the property was overgrown with Himalayan blackberries. We hired a guy to come in an rip them to shreds with a magnificent bobcat/brush hog. Deep in the corner, he uncovered a 630 CSI. He pulled it far enough out that I could have a look. It was last licensed in 2002 (how ironic is that?) I could raise the hood high enough to see that some work was done on the fuel side and abandoned. There were rodent nests under the hood and I found a dead, four-legged, rat in the trunk. The interior was dissolved, and there is water on the floor (which I take as a good sign). The paint is totally faded, there is a large rust spot on the hood where the paint was damaged and light rust on the leading edge of the roof. Also a rust hole at the right rear tail light. But otherwise, it appears sound, rockers and doors, fenders, etc. The wheels look good and the Michelins still held air! When I closed the door it closed just like in the showroom. All the glass is intact. It was gray market registered into CA. 349K kilometers on the odo.

    So my question is whether I should just go ahead and have this towed off (no charge to me), or is there a market for parts worth my time?

    Peter
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    hackmechanic

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    Peter, thanks for your kind words. That's a great story. I'm not a 6 Series expert, but my understanding is that the hierarchy, from most to least desirable, is:

    --Euro M635CSi
    --US spec M6
    --Euro 635CSi with M90 motor
    --Euro 635CSi with M30 motor
    --88 and 89 US spec 635CSi with "world" bumpers and 208hp motor
    --US spec 635CSi with big bumpers and 182hp motor
    --US spec 633CSi
    --US spec 630CSi

    I'm not sure where Euro 630CSi and 628CSi cars fit, but with the condition you described, it's doubtful to me it's worth saving. A "dogleg" transmission is worth money, as is an uncracked dashboard and good sport seats. But absent those things, I'd give it a decent burial.

    But keep looking through those berry bushes for rust-free E9s...!

    --Rob
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    flipper325

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    Hi Rob,

    I'll join the chorus of others that have sung your praises here and elsewhere :D, and am really glad you still have the desire, time, and energy to share your musings with us!

    I just read your latest article, 'Picking Up on Parts Particulars,' and wanted to recommend an online dealer alternative to Tischer -- Passport BMW in Silver Hill, MD (near Washington, DC). They are also a Roundel advertiser, with a dedicated online ordering system, but they offer a bigger discount -- 25-35% off MSRP. Their shipping rates are competitive, and Vince Maimone, Online Parts Advisor, has been great to deal with. I prefer using my own FedEx account, and Passport has no problem with me e-mailing them a shipping label -- excellent customer service!

    Passport's web site is MyBimmerParts.com. I usually e-mail Vince directly to confirm if parts are in stock, at the US warehouse, or in Germany -- he responds very quickly.

    I look forward to your next article!

    --Alex
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    zoff

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    Hey Rob,

    just read your article on parts vendors and there is a much better alternative to Tischer BMW and it is in your back yard (not literally, but probably close). You need to talk to Jordan Slaven (jslaven@bmwpeabody.com) at Peabody BMW. You send him a list of parts and he will provide you with a quick quote and their prices always beat Tischer. I've ordered parts for both my E30 and my E91 from him and Jordan never fails to disappoint. The only negative about using Peabody is that you have to submit a CC authorization form with your order but it's no big deal if you have access to a scanner or a fax. I'm not sure if Peabody honors the CCA discount but my experience with other dealers that price aggressively is that they don't so I wouldn't be surprised.

    Anywho, love reading your articles and I am looking forward to a thorough write up on your repairs to the '72 tii (Perhaps there is a restoration thread somewhere around here?).
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    hackmechanic

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    Alex and Zoff:

    Thank you both for the feedback. I've also received a number of private e-mails from people alerting me to their favorite parts source, and, presumably, the error of my ways :^). I realized when I sent in the piece that there was a certain amount of risk in writing about whom I order from, as it can certainly lead to charges of favoritism. For the record, I receive no special discount from any of these vendors (though a guy from Bavarian did once drive an alternator down to me on his motorcycle when they screwed up and I was up the creek because of it, and I don't pretend for a moment that they'd do that for just anyone). I did write at the end of the piece that the intent wasn't to plug these particular shops; it was to give a window into why I order different parts from different places depending on a number of factors, and I urged people not to turn away from vendors who consistently satisfied them.
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    284020443594

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    Rob, Thank you for your wisdom and willingness to help us in time of need. I purchased a 1970 2002 in 1971. Had lots of fun with it then went stupid. I had a ramp to my basement so pulled the engine and shipped it to Ray Korman. It was his first engine rebuild when he arrived in his shop in USA. Have some great letters from him concerning the build and the fact that he would personally build the engine. Got it back and it was absolutely terrific. Auto crossed the car many times. I sold it for $6500 with the expressed agreement that if he ever sold it I got the first chance. Several years later it was in pretty sad shape and I bought it back for $700.00. I fixed it back up and it was in great glory again. For some reason I got a great deal on a European 323i and bought it for resale. Took it to Oklahoma City at a Porsche Autocross and got top time of day. After the event a guy want to purchase it. I said the 323i and he said no the 2002. Hated to sell it but by then I had a 72 Bavaria also. Too many kids to feed so I sold my 2002 again for $6500.00. The Bavaria was a great car and ended up with a two page picture from the Milwaukee Octoberfest drivers school. Still looking for my old 2002. Colorado with blacked out chrome. $700 cash? Now working on my 88 M5.
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    hackmechanic

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    Wow, what a great story, thanks. Some friends are posting on FB pics of Boston CCA Chapter members heading down to Lime Rock in the late 70s. And your story. 30 years I've been writing for Roundel, yet sometimes I feel like a Johnny-come-lately...!
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    000669

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    Rob, I very much like your book. No surprise, given how much I look forward to your columns.

    Great inscription, btw.

    If you need advice, I know a bit about Europas and a lot about TC engines.

    Miles Wilkinson's book on TCs is now out of print and very expensive. Helped me a lot.

    I know how to affix cork cam cover gasket so it a) doesn't leak b) cam cover is removable w/o replacing the gasket.

    Weird thing: Old TC distributors often lose their advance curves. Taught to me by a gent who rebuilt many for race teams; very talented machinist as well.

    I drove my 170 hp Elan to warm it up. Put advance timing light on it; all looked good. Then, ran it hard, so stinking hot.

    Sure enough, much less advance. Cleaning, lube did not help. Bought new breakerless distr.

    Malady will not show up on distributor machine: Not enough heat & driven by different method.

    Feel free to call on me should you need anything.

    Gil

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